Ward 100 residents march for councillor to be removed

Fed-up residents chanting songs during the service delivery protest.

Ward 100 residents staged a peaceful protest in the rain on RJ Namane Drive leading to their ward councillor’s office in Sethokga on March 8.

More than 100 fed-up residents from Freedom Square Squatter Camp, Moriting and Sethokga demanded that their ward councillor, Phokwana Watch Mabotha, be removed as their councillor since his efforts were “useless”.

The protesters were backed by members from the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Police Department (EMPD) and Ekurhuleni North SAPS Cluster on their way to the office where on arrival, they found the gates locked. A memorandum stating the residents’ grievances was received by a representative from the Gauteng premier’s office, Joshua John Ngwenyama.

Before the residents submitted their memorandum, they expressed their unhappiness to Ngwenyama and that they will not vote unless stands or proper shelter are allocated to them by the government.

They told him that the government has built family units at Sethokga for quite a few years, but they are still unoccupied.

Community leader Franz Sethoa said the residents were fed-up with councillor Mabotha’s incompetent leadership and administration.

“He must leave his office because his way of working is dragging the service delivery system even slower. He keeps on serving the interest of his close friends and their own pockets. He is not prioritising the needs of the poor. What has been done so far because more than three times we have entered the office of the speaker of Ekurhuleni with the aim to get resolution on the problem of nepotism when it comes to service delivery in this ward, but it there aren’t better changes?” asked Sethoa.

Ward 100 residents protesting for better service delivery around Sethokga Hostel.

Sethoa explained that the issue of land and service stands is the major concern of their community, as some of them are living in a squatter camp under the dangerous Eskom high voltage cables.

“Some residents are living in hostels with children while others are living in the backrooms of other people’s stands. We are living in an unhealthy environment due to sewerage that bursts very often and isn’t being maintained properly. Our local government has put our children’s lives at risk by catching toxic germs. We’ve been trying to engage these types of matters to the councillor but to no avail,” said Sethoa.

Another resident, Vumani Dlamini, said it is rainy season and some residents’ shacks get flooded.

“It is unfair and selfish of an individual to act ignorant or care less about another person’s concerns because they are staying in a better shelter, living nicely with their families. What about us who voted for you?” added Dlamini.

The residents demanded that the premier’s office should respond to their memorandum before March 15.

Ngwenyama said he was sent by the premier to receive the memorandum.

“I am also representing the office of Paul Mashatile, MEC of Human Settlement. As the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, we are here to ensure that municipalities perform their basic responsibilities and functions without compromise, by putting people and their concerns first – the Batho Pele principle. Our councillors must call meetings with their communities on a monthly basis,” added Ngwenyama.

He promised the residents that they will respond to the memorandum within the given time frame.

“We will send the memorandum to the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality to get full information about the community’s grievances. I thank the community for addressing their concerns in an acceptable manner,” he added.

Ngwenyama said he was happy to see Tembisa women taking the lead in order to address their grievances since the protest was held on International Women’s Day.

The Tembisan has sent a comment query to the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality’s communication department concerning the councillor’s removal and poor service delivery in the ward.

  AUTHOR
Malebo Tseke
Journalist

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